'Brady, Hendrick, Whelan, McCarthy... none of them can emulate Wes Hoolahan' - John Giles
Published 13/10/2016 | 20:20
Republic of Ireland legend John Giles believes Wes Hoolahan is the only creative force in the Irish squad and he can't understand Martin O'Neill's lack of trust in the Norwich star.
Hoolahan earned another man-of-the-match award in the 3-1 victory over Moldova on Sunday despite being deemed surplus to requirements in the draw against Serbia and the fortuitous victory over Georgia.
It is apparent that when O'Neill has a full squad to pick from, Hoolahan misses out.
Speaking on Off The Ball on Newstalk this evening, Giles rubbished insinuations that Hoolahan is a risky selection away from home and could struggle over 90 minutes because he is now 34.
"Hoolahan is the only player we have that can be a creative force in the squad," he said.
"Wes Hoolahan is not a world class player but he's the best creative player we've got and even the other night in Moldova, the pass that he made to Shane Long for the first goal, there's is nobody in the squad capable of doing that and he plays very, very rarely.
"Everyone see the game through their own eyes and in a different way and he's the manager. He manages the team as he sees fit.
"Everyone is talking about him being 34, is he able to do it?
"There have been certain insinuations that he can't do it away from home or he won't last the 90 minutes but even if he is not going to last 90 minutes, why can't he play for 60 or 70 minutes and get the best from him. We definitely need a creative force to really get things going.
"I think (James) McCarthy and (Glenn) Whelan haven't provided that and there is no chance of them providing it in the future.
"(Robbie) Brady has got to come back into the team and (Jeff) Hendrick has got to come back in to the team but neither of them can provide what Hoolahan can provide.
"They don't trust him.
"This idea of playing away from home is a myth. Their pitches are just the same as our own but I don't think he's trusted.
"Time and time again when he has played, he has actually produced the goods.
"I think a lot of people are suspicious of creative players.. 'if he loses the ball there'.
"When you have McCarthy and Whelan playing, they are not going to lose the ball in dangerous positions but they won't get on the ball in dangerous positions."